Life as a startup entrepreneur is tough. Getting a business off the ground requires long hours, hard work and real dedication to the cause, but the payoffs can make it all worthwhile. But when the lines between work and life are blurred, how should entrepreneurs share their rollercoaster story over social media?
In this piece, we’re going to look at the traditional best practice versus a real ‘heart on the sleeve’ approach. What are the pros and cons of each and, more importantly, which is best for you?
The startup journey
It comes as no surprise to anyone who has or knows someone who has started a business that it takes a lot of long days, hard work and calculated risk taking to make a business work. Most entrepreneurs work around their day job, part-time work, or embrace the challenge of having zero income before the business takes off.
But today, when so much of our lives are shared on the social networks, what’s an entrepreneur to do? Should they share their tribulations in order to win affinity from their peers or do they portray the image of a well-oiled machine? How much of the inner-workings of their business should find their way to Facebook and to what extent should an entrepreneur distance themselves from their brand?
Here’s the typical approach:
Fake it ’til you make it
This phrase sums up most people’s approach when it comes to personal brand as a startup. This tactic essentially involves portraying your business as big and successfully as you possibly can, despite any struggles and setbacks you are experiencing. Of course, “fake it ’til you make it” isn’t just about your social media approach, it’s also an attitude towards entrepreneurship.
But to the outside world, the business must look robust, successful, with the capacity to grow and bring on new clients.
As a quote made famous by Michael Caine goes, “Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.”
But what of this “fake it ’til you make it” should be shared on one’s personal social media profiles?
Creating a serenity and a sense of confidence online may come from never mentioning business amongst friends, or only ever sharing major news or wins. Distancing one’s self from one’s working life on social media may forgo some business wins.
As JC Social Media founder Jodie Cook says in this Reader’s Digest article, what most people share on social media is their best bits or ‘edited showreel’. This is usually never more true of the entrepreneur. An entrepreneur would do well to keep their failures and low points to themselves; only sharing their wins and the opportunities their life choices have provided them.
People tend to want to be associated with success or the winning team. Creating an aura of success is likely to help an entrepreneur attract more business opportunities – no one wants to board a sinking ship.